The Poet Ridiculed by Hysterical Academics

Is it, then, your opinion
                      Women are putty in your hands?
                  Is this the face to launch upon
                      A thousand one night stands?

First, please, would you be so kind
    As to define your contribution
To modern verse, the Western mind
    And human institutions?

                                    Where, where is the long, flowing hair,
                                        The velvet suit, the broad bow tie;
                                    Where is the other-worldly air,
                                        Where the abstracted eye?

Describe the influence on your verse
    Of Oscar Mudwarp’s mighty line,
The theories of Susan Schmersch
    Or the spondee’s decline.

         You’ve labored to present us with
             This mouse-sized volume; shall this equal
         The epic glories of Joe Smith?
             He’s just brought out a sequel.

                  Where are the beard, the bongo drums,
                      Tattered T-shirt and grubby sandals,
                  As who, released from Iowa, comes
                      To tell of wondrous scandals?

Have you subversive, out of date,
    Or controversial ideas?
And can you really pull your weight
    Among such minds as these?

                                    Ah, what avails the tenure race,
                                        Ah, what the Ph.D.,
                                    When all departments have a place
                                        For nincompoops like thee?

W.D. Snodgrass, “The Poet Ridiculed by Hysterical Academics” from Selected Poems, 1957-1987 (New York: Soho Press, 1987). Copyright © 1987 by W.D. Snodgrass. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Selected Poems 1957-1987 (1987)
More Poems by W. D. Snodgrass